VALIANT HEARTS: THE GREAT WAR IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL PUZZLER

Friv I’ll be honest, I didn’t know a lot about World War I prior to getting a taste of Valiant Hearts: The Great War. I still don’t know a lot about it, but this unassuming, charming and deeply moving take on one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history has inspired me to want to know more.

That inspiration spawns from an elegant approach to writing and game design that adheres very much to a ‘show, don’t tell’ mantra. Valiant Hearts’ five playable characters

rarely utter more than a word or two, but the quality of the hand-drawn and painted visuals exude so much meaning that the intricacies of both plot and relationships are never anything less than powerfully communicated.

It’s an overtly adult direction to take and one that requires you to pay attention at all times in order to properly grasp everything that’s happening in any particular situation. The

common theme running throughout everything I’ve played so far, however, is the idea that love can exist in many different ways in even the most testing of circumstances.

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This is an idea explored not only during cut-scenes and through the limited dialogue, but also within side-scrolling, predominantly puzzle-based, gameplay. In one sequence you

play as Anna, a young Belgian nurse sent to France to treat wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Unsurprisingly, it’s a dangerous job. Armed with a basic first aid kit and

whatever she can scavenge from the trenches, Anna must avoid gunfire and artillery as she searches for those in need of her skills.

Walking across a recently bombed area of land I come across French soldiers requiring a wide array of different lifesaving treatments. Some simply require water to quench their

overwhelming thirst, others require a sling for a broken arm or a set of crutches for a damaged leg. A more severe case involves amputating a leg.

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Solutions to these problems are not always immediately obvious. Finding a water bottle is easy, but working out where to get fresh water from challenges you to think outside of the

box and activating a seemingly defunct pump. In other instances, point-and-click adventure-esque leaps of logic are needed to provide substitutes for unavailable items -

these include using a scarf as a sling, or a long shovel in place of crutches. For the amputated leg a crude saw and antiseptic are needed, once found you must complete a

simple minigame that asks you to hit buttons in time with the patient’s heartbeat to prevent him from dying during the operation. Valiant Hearts doesn’t shy away from the grim reality.

Right at the end of the sequence I come across a German commander who was earlier shown giving the order to bomb the French in the first place. It’s here that Anna shows her

compassion for all people by offering the same level of care and comfort to the enemy as she does her own side.

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In the wrong hands this type of moment could easily come across as clichéd and/or predictable, but the subtle way the story is portrayed through visuals lends a touching

quality to the moment. By not telling me what to think of this moment, by only showing it in action, I am allowed to imprint my own thoughts on the event – making it something personal and touching as opposed to clumsy and exploitative.

The other playable characters are similarly motivated by love and compassion, albeit in different ways. German soldier Karl, for example, is primarily concerned with reuniting

with his French girlfriend that he was torn away from at the start of the war, while American Freddie is fighting to honour the memory of his deceased wife.

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Candy Crush Saga: Why Millions Can’t Stop Matching Candy on Their Phones

PHOTO: Candy Crush has become one of the most popular games in the world to play on a smartphone or tablet.

Candy crush saga cheats - Candy Crush has become one of the most popular games in the world to play on a smartphone or tabletIt all starts with a level you can beat within seconds. You slide three oe same color candy together and they burst.

As those disappear you move on to find four more matches. It seems trivial, even boring or banal at first, but if you’re not sucked in you’re an anomaly. Successive levels pull you in with obstacles and challenges, all of which are based around that simple task of swiping and matching small pieces of caLeah Kahn, 36, is one of those people who has been pulled in by the force of “Candy Crush Saga,”

playing the game at least five or more times a day on her iPhone. And she is one of many. According to King, the maker of the hugely popular game, 15.5 million people are crushing candy multiple times a day.

In the past couple of months the mobile game has become the most popular game on Facebook and among the top apps in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. According to King, the maker of the game, it’s being played more than half a billion times a day on mobile just alone.

A Killer Social/Mobile Combination 
The game, which was released for mobile phones in November 2012, has topped Zynga’s Farmville 2 and other popular mobile games such as Texas HoldEm Poker, Bejeweled Blitz and Subway Sufers.

But why? What is it about this game that’s really no more than a simple puzzle game that has made it so popular? It’s a combination of mobile and social elements, says the makers and experts.

“The core thing with Candy Crush is that it is available on multiple platforms, and … there is the social side. It’s something you can do with friends and family – that’s something we see a lot of,” Tommy Palm, King’s Mobile Guru, told ABC News.

You can log in to the game with your Facebook account and not only does that sync your game progress across devices, but it allows you to see where your Facebook friends are in the plus-300 level game on a map.

That’s just the basic social integration, though. King has engineered the game to be all about social assistance. You get five lives per level. Once you run out you cannot advance to the next level unless you pay 99 cents or request extra lives from friends.

You’d think that might send people away from the game, but that part has added to the excitement of the game. “You can get more lives from Facebook, but that means having to wait for your friends to send them. That part can be a bit painful,” Kahn said, adding that it also makes you continue to check to see if you’ve gotten access.

That’s where the mobile aspect comes in. Palm says the game has become a “mobile phenomena” with people checking and playing the game multiple times a day on their phones. Kahn, like 10 million others playing on their phones, says she plays multiple times a day whether it is on her commute or at home. “It’s a very great time passer. It makes the time go by very quickly,” she says.

Oh, and It’s Fun
But, of course, it is those social and mobile aspects built on top of an interesting and challenging puzzle-like game that has made it catch on.

“The human visual system is primed for pattern detection, which is a key component of this game,” Heather Kikorian, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told ABC News. With Candy Crush, that pattern- solving strategy is core and becomes more and more challenging as the game goes on.

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Friv news – EA Comments on Battlefield 4 Server Issues

Friv – In the wake of announcing its third quarter 2013 results, EA executives have weighed in on Battlefield 4′s stability issues during a Q&A at the end of its earnings conference call.

When EA executive vice president Patrick Soderlund was asked what happened with Battlefield 4 and what the company learned from it, he explained that while EA and DICE were “convinced [Battlefield 4] was ready,” EA was taking “multiple steps” to ensure its post-launch issues never happen again with future products.

“When Battlefield 4 launched, it was a very complex game, launching on two entirely new console platforms, as well as current-gen and PC,” said Soderlund. “We were pushing innovation heavily and we’re delivering 60 frames per second gameplay for 64 players plus the ability to connect via mobile tablet as a Commander into the product, coupled those with some very innovative features on the gameplay side.

Based on our pre-launch testing and beta performance, we were confident the game was ready when it was launched. Shortly after launch, however, we began hearing about problems from our player community, and the development team quickly began to address the situation.

“The challenge that we’ve faced with Battlefield 4 were different from anything that we’ve seen before with other games. There were different issues that only manifest its scale in the post-launch live environment.

We’re taking multiple steps to evaluate what occurred and incorporate those learnings into our development process for future products, so we don’t experience the same problems again.”

Elsewhere on the call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson expressed sentiments similar to Soderlund’s, calling Battlefield 4 a “complex effort” and reiterating that DICE was quick to respond to reports of problems.

“Launching Battlefield was a complex effort, with our teams at DICE delivering a massive game packed with innovative new features for players on next-gen consoles, current-gen consoles and PC,” said Wilson. “Shortly after Battlefield 4 went live, we began hearing from some players in the community who were experiencing issues with the game.

The Battlefield team acted swiftly to address the issues through game updates, and they continue to make refinements as part of our live service to ensure a great game experience for all Battlefield 4 players. Battlefield 4 is an amazing game in size, scope and gameplay, and we’re confident that gamers will be playing for a long time to come.”

Since its release in October, Battlefield 4 has suffered ongoing connectivity issues, bugs and crashes, while reports of an investigation and a lawsuit over the game has struck further blows to its reputation.

Regardless, developer DICE has been doggedly committed to fixing Battlefield 4, and recently released a patch across all platforms intended to address its major problems. Today, DICE announced Battlefield 4 ‘Player Appreciation Month,’ which offers players free Battlepacks every day in February. To play online games heres a niffy little site here – juegos friv

y8 news – Nintendo Boss Iwata Halves Pay as Profits Tumble

y8 – Nintendo has released its nine-month financial results, revealing a continuing decline in both revenue and profit, though software sales are looking up.

In the nine-month period ending December 31, 2013, the company’s revenue earnings were ¥499.1 billion ($4.8 billion), down 8.1 percent on the year before. Profit took a harder hit, falling to ¥10.2 billion ($96.7m), which was down 30 percent. A favourable series of exchanges enabled the company to recoup some of this, however, and thus avoid making a loss.

As a result of this, AFP reports Nintendo president Satoru Iwata will take a 50 percent pay cut for the next five months in recognition of the downturn in profit, while other board members will take cuts of between 20 and 30 percent.

The Wii U continues to cause the company serious issues, with just 2.41 million consoles being sold since April of last year. This is down on the 3 million consoles sold in the same period the year before; a worrying fact given high-profile releases like Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Super Mario 3D World apparently failed to convince people to pick up a Wii U.

“The Wii U hardware still has a negative impact on Nintendo’s profits owing mainly to its markdown in the United States and Europe, and sales of software, which has high profit margins, did not grow sufficiently,” the company revealed.

Despite this, there was some good news on the game front. Thanks to lifetime Wii U sales now sitting at 5.86 million, several of this year’s releases broke through the million sales mark by the end of December, including Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and Wii Party U. Software sales for the period came in at just under 16 million.

The 3DS on the other hand sold 11.65 million units in the period which, while down on the 12.7 million sold in the same timeframe 12 months prior, still easily makes the handheld one of the most popular devices in the market. Its lifetime sales now sit at 42.75 million units worldwide.

3DS game sales hit 57.25 million units for the period, with several stand-out performers. Chief among these was Pokemon X & Y, which sold 11.6 million units across the globe, though Animal Crossing: New Leaf managed 3.5 million, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team hit 2 million, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds achieved 2.18 million (in little over a month) and Tomodachi Collection shifted 1.8 million.

Two weeks ago, the company slashed the amount of Wii U and 3DS consoles it expected to sell by the end of the financial year on March 31, 2014 to 2.8 million and 13.5 million respectively. As a result of today’s news, Nintendo now needs to sell 400,000 more Wii U consoles and 1.85 million 3DS handhelds to hit this target. If you enjoy playing games have a look here y8.com

Research Chemicals News – Consumers Need Better Protection from Chemicals in Products

Research Chemicals – European Union policy falls short of protecting consumers — and the environment — from the hazards of chemicals in textiles, building materials and other everyday products, a study conducted at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm recently concluded.

Linda Molander, a former PhD student in the discipline of risk and safety at KTH, examined the risk assessment and management behind EU efforts to protect people and the environment from the danger of chemicals in products used daily. The study, which Molander presented as her licentiate thesis, focused on the REACH legislation and product-specific directives such as the Toys Safety Directive.

Molander says that a substance considered dangerous in one product can be permitted in another, due to wide variations in prohibitions and requirements for different product categories. For example, certain phthalates, or plasticizers, have been banned in toys because of their endocrine-disrupting properties, though they continue to be permitted in a variety of other products that children are exposed to. Because such plastic products lack a list of contents, it is virtually impossible for consumers to protect themselves by making informed choices, she says.

“The ban in toys is obviously good, but it’s not enough,” she says. “You miss the big picture.” If you looking to do your own research you can buy research chemicals from this site – www.buyresearchchemicalsuk.com

The study also finds that EU risk assessment and management fails to take into consideration the full life cycle of consumer products, leaving unaddressed such questions as what happens with the chemicals when consumers wash their clothes or dispose of the products.

“Many of these chemicals wind up in the environment, something which is often incompatible with the EU’s environmental goals,” she says. “More extensive measures should be taken to stop this from happening in the first place, instead of trying to manage the problem after the damage has been done.” She recommends that product regulators pay greater attention to chemicals that are known to pose environmental hazards.

Molander concludes that the expanse of REACH’s scope may be in part to blame for the weakness of the law. “It is very general and, in many cases, toothless,” she says. “Dangerous chemicals in consumer products must be reduced in order to ensure their safe use, but also to increase the opportunities to recycle materials and their byproducts, such as sludge and ash, in a sustainable way.”

She also calls for an evaluation of whether additional product-specific directives could be introduced for products that many people come into contact with and where chemical use is extensive.

“Overall, the regulations regarding chemicals in consumer products are currently not sufficient to ensure that human health and the environment are protected,” she says.

Business – ‘Tesco can destroy competition by cutting prices’

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The supermarket reports its interim results on Wednesday (4 December) and is predicted to see like-for-like sales drop by as much as 2 per cent as it faces increased competition from both the top and lower end of the market. HSBC, in a note to investors, advised clients to cut the proportion of Tesco shares in their portfolios and reduced its valuation of its shares to 340p, from 400p.

The bank added that Tesco’s prized 5.2 per cent operating margin must drop to between 2 per cent and 3 per cent. David McCarthy, head of European consumer and retail research at HSBC, advises Tesco to start a new supermarket price war to reverse disappointing sales.

By investing in price, he believes Tesco will be able to either win “substantial share” from the competition if they refuse to cut prices or “destroy competitors’ cash flows and profits” if they do, leaving it in a position to recover more quickly.

He says: “Tesco needs to make its offer compelling, needs to hurts its competitors and needs to rebuild. But before rebuilding comes demolition. We believe a margin fall is inevitable and a margin reset is necessary.”

So far Tesco has maintained its profit margins by keeping operational costs low, however McCarthy thinks this creates a vicious spiral because it results in “consumer unfriendly” actions that lead to further sales declines and more margin pressure. Consumer perceptions of the supermarket have also been hit by factors such as the horsemeat scandal and fines for “misleading” prices.

Meanwhile, Tesco is rolling out its electronic shelf edge labels to its Enfield Superstore following a trial in the Letchworth Express store in Hertfordshire. It has also launched its first app for Tesco colleagues that provides up-to-date information on in store product availability and the exact location of goods, as well as any deals or offers that might be of interest.

Mike McNamara, chief information office at Tesco, says: “When the right technology is applied in the right way, it can change the way we work and the way we shop.”

Tesco is trying to reverse two years of disappointing sales after it issued its first profit warning in 20 years at the beginning of 2012. The supermarket’s UK sales were flat for the 13 weeks to 24 August and fell 1 per cent in the first quarter, while its market share fell to 29.8 per cent for the 12 weeks to 11 November, compared to 30.5 per cent a year ago, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Tesco chief Philip Clarke has in place a £1bn turnaround plan that focuses on investment in technology and its online shopping business, including the opening of a sixth distribution centre for online orders and a planned same-day deliver service. It has launched its first device, the Hudl tablet, that it claims is the “fastest-selling tablet we have sold at Tesco” outselling products including Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindles.

It is also hoping to boost customer spend by revitalising its stores into family shopping and leisure destinations. That includes the launch of its own-brand carvery restaurant Decks, as well as investments in Euphorium bakeries and Harris + Hoole coffee shops and the £48.6m purchase of the Giraffe restaurant chain.